(India). From 4 to 7 November 2020, in preparation for the Centenary of the presence of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in India (1922 – 2022), the Indian Interprovincial Conference (PCI) proposed to the FMA a Webinar entitled: “Rejuvenating Salesian Pedagogy”.
The PCI President, Sister Margaret Amalanathan, introduced the theme recalling the mandate for the year 2020-2021 in view of the 150th of the Foundation of the FMA Institute “I entrust them to you” and quoting the expression of Jean Duvallet, collaborator of Abbé Pierre, who addresses young Salesians: “You have works, schools, oratories for young people, but you have only one treasure: Don Bosco’s pedagogy”.
In the opening address, Sister Lucy Rose Ozhukayil, Visiting Councilor, summarized Pope Francis’s pedagogy in the words freedom, responsibility, and love, emphasizing the phrase of St. Francis de Sales: “good education is already half holiness“. Sister Nirmala Mummadi, of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Province (INK), addressed the theme: “Don Bosco’s Preventive System“, underlining that Reason, Religion, and Loving kindness shape the soul of the young and open them to the call of God.
Sr. Celine Jacob, Provincial of Bangalore (INK), presented Saint Mary Domenica Mazzarello in the four stages of maturation of the Christian and consecrated life. The speaker on the second day, Sister Sahaya Sangitha Rani (INK), deepened the Salesian Pedagogy of the origins in the experience of St. Mary Mazzarello and the first Sisters of Mornese and Nizza. Sr. Elizabeth George, Provincial of the Shillong Province (INS), reflected on how Don Bosco’s pedagogy was the synthesis of his thoughts and experiences, which materialized in his pastoral action, a timely practice to face today’s time of crisis.
The Provincial of Calcutta (INC), Sister Rose Ezarath, introduced the third day with the pedagogical heritage left by Don Bosco to his children: “To respond to the profound needs of young people in this pandemic, we must be FMA according to the Heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd ”. Sister Rita Dora Thomas, Provincial of Bombay (INB), invited the participants to build an educational relationship with young people immersed in today’s complex and fragmented reality: “Young people need solid foundations and support from educators, to build themselves as persons and enhance their abilities “. The speaker, Sr. Lily Perumpettikunnel (INC), presented the historical events of Fr. Rua in the wake of Don Bosco’s pedagogical teachings. Fr. Rua was “the most faithful, the humblest, and the most valiant of the sons of Don Bosco” in three respects: his charisma, his kindness to children and confreres, his fatherliness towards the FMA.
On 7 November 2020, after the presentation of the Centenary initiatives by the President of the Committee for the Centenary, Sister Runita Borja, General Councilor for Youth Ministry intervened and shared the re-reading of the Wedding at Cana from an educational perspective. Sister Runita recalled the elements of Salesian Spirituality which must not be lacking in FMA environments: joy and optimism; friendship with Jesus and Mary; responsible service and communion. Sister Stella Potteparambil, the rapporteur, took up the Circulars of Mother Ersilia Canta, sixth Superior General of the Institute, on the spirituality of the Preventive System. Mother Ersilia wanted the FMA to commit themselves to the vital study and assimilation of the PS, as an educational response to different situations.
The Webinar, organized by Sr. Sahaya Sangitha Rani (INK) and Sr. Stella Potteparambil (INC), coordinators of the “Committee for Renewal” of the Centenary, was followed by about 600 FMA from the seven Provinces of India. The participants had space for sharing and questions and the Provinces took turns for introductory moments of prayer. In conclusion, the PCI President thanked those who contributed to the coordination and management of the virtual platform.